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To what extent have you found it possible, in your consideration of literary works, to separate the individual from his or her public role? In your answer you should refer to any two or three works you have studied.

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Introduction

5) b) To what extent have you found it possible, in your consideration of literary works, to separate the individual from his or her public role? In your answer you should refer to any two or three works you have studied. In the novels studied we can see that the characters have two completely different faces, a public face and a more personal face. This can be seen in the characters of Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe's 'Things Fall Apart' while also being evident in Antoinette and Edward in Rhys' 'Wide Sargasso Sea'. In these novels we see the narration centered around these protagonists. This enables us to see an inner side of them which they attempt to conceal from the societies which they live in, Okonkwo and Edward for fear of being weak and Antoinette for fear of being condemned. In allowing us to see their reactions to certain events and being able to track the changes in their way of thinking in response to certain events we see their attempt to conceal their emotions. ...read more.

Middle

What is maybe the most evident example is where Okonkwo does this when the kotma enter the market place and attempt to disband the meeting of the clan. This extreme rage erupts and results in his killing of the kotma. It is the Okonkwo reaching his climax and after this instant he commits suicide. The suicide in itself may also be an example of Okonkwo separating himself from his public role. By killing himself he makes himself an abomination to the clan and it is as if he is acknowledging defeat by the white men. It is a turn from the strong, manly image that he tries to show at all times. We know the reasons why Okonkwo has committed this act, and hence this allows us to distinguish his inner emotions from those which he shows. Also, we can see the division between the personal life and the public life of the characters in Rhys' 'Wide Sargasso Sea'. From the beginning we can see this in Antoinette. We see how she finds animals "better, better than people". ...read more.

Conclusion

They make him appear stubborn and too methodical for the servants there however we know that this is because of his upbringing. This allows us to distinguish his inner thoughts from those he publicly expresses. Moreover, another such example is in Edward's letter to his father. Here we see that he is oddly cold and formal. For example there he says to his father that "I feel that I have left you too long without news for the bare announcement of me approaching marriage was hardly news." This shows Edward attempting to be cool and calculating to his father and attempting to live up to British standards. However we find out that he has been neglected as a child in favour of his older brother and was forced to marry so as to acquire some money. Thus we can again see two different sides of Edward. To conclude, we can see that it is very easy to separate the individual from his or her public role. This is so as the narrators choose to reveal some facts, thoughts and emotions of the characters which lead us to see things as they really are instead of as the characters attempt to portray in the respective novels. ...read more.

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